Getting Foxy

webDrag Noir

Fox Spirit Books items this week:

A terrific review for DRAG NOIR over at British Fantasy. It’s taking a while, but people are discovering this book that brings a unique twist on the noir genre:

What I like about the anthology is that K.A. Laity has taken the time out to make sure she has made her idea live up to the expectations of many noir and drag readers. She has literally had the authors featured here go into the minds of their characters to bring them to life with all their problems, shattered dreams, bad love lives.

Well done to all the writers in this collection: you stepped up to a challenge and brought stories that were fresh ans surprising.

I’ve also got a piece on the Fox Spirit blog today about the necessity of promoting your books. Drag Noir is a good case in point. It’s been a long term commitment, continuing to get the word out to people who don’t know about it but who will appreciate it when they do. People can’t read a book they don’t know about. Let your excitement be known.

And always check whether You Left Your Biscuit Behind.

you-left-your-biscuit-front-cover

Venice and More

Apologies for dropping out of things lately: insanely busy trying to catch up. Lots of ways to entertain you, however. Example: read this wonderful review of Drag Noir that came out when I was literally on my way out of the country. Thanks, Plenitude Magazine and Latonya Pennington. The process of finding your audience can be slow, but when you do find them it’s so gratifying.

If you’re interested in crime writing at all, check out this issue of TEXT magazine: Crime Fiction: The Creative/Critical Nexus, edited by Rachel Franks, Jesper Gulddal and Alistair Rolls. I am very happy to have my close analysis of Dorothy B. Hughes’ The Expendable Man [PDF download].

But you want pictures, right? The whole album can be found here, but let me show you a glimpse of this amazing city (click pictures to embiggen). And there’s still the manuscript exhibit to upload!

Fox Pockets Party

Getting Girly with MLP

What I Learned from Cult TV:
Friendship is Magic

Cult TV show My Little Pony

This is about my My Little Pony epiphany. I have sighed my way through a lot of bad entertainment consumption with the Executive Princess, much of it day-glo and glittery. I think the bottom of the barrel might be Barbie’s Life in the Dream House but it could also apply to the endless package openings on YouTube where that woman with the grating voice goes into orgasmic raptures in that sing-song way over every product that she’s paid to drool over.

If you do not know her, be grateful.

So I expected no less of MLP, which originally kicked off in the 80s with a film promoting a toy line (the horror of that 80s animation! If you have seen that travesty, you know of what I speak: believe me, anything that Madeline Kahn cannot rescue is irredeemable). Sure, I had heard of Bronies and other cutesy appropriations as every pony knows, but considering the unearned fanaticism that makes some folks fawn over that saccharine Speilbergian horror, Goonies, I didn’t pay much attention. I figured it was another ‘I love it because I grew up with it’ phenomenon (I grew up with war pictures and Westerns: I do not generally love either). I really didn’t think MLP would be any different from, say, those interminable Strawberry Shortcake episodes (scarring, I assure you).

I certainly never expected to fight off tears watching MLP’s Rainbow Rocks.

Somehow a bunch of things collided in my head last summer while I first got immersed in Ponyville. I was also reading some Megan Abbott (Fever and then later The End of Everything) and also noticing stories like the Slenderman stabbing. They stirred up a lot of the best and worst of girlhood. There’s a darkness in it that no one much likes to admit; it can be a very claustrophobic world.

Girls lives are circumscribed by society. Much as we like to think we are free and liberal (all current evidence to the contrary), the truth remains that girls lives are tightly bound. At the far end of the spectrum, they’re literally locked away until handed over to a husband or some other patriarchal organisation; at the more lenient end, they’re hemmed in by social constructions that breed fear into their very skin. They’re both disparaged and protected. They don’t have a choice. So what happens?

Girls expand to fill the spaces allowed them…

[Click here to read the rest over at Fox Spirit]

Skulk & #BFawards2016

Fox Spirit BFS

Whoohoo! Glad to see some Fox Spirit skulk nominated for British Fantasy Society awards, including Fox Spirit as best small press AGAIN! After winning last year, it’s really great to see that Aunty Fox AKA Adele’s commitment to quality continues to be recognised. It’s a strong field all around, which speaks to the richness of the community. I must say I’m pleased to see a nomination for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, too, as I don’t think it’s got near enough acclaim.

Here are the Fox Spirit nominees:

Best independent press
Fox Spirit Books (Adele Wearing)

Best artist
Sarah Anne Langton

Best anthology
African Monsters, ed. Margrét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas (Fox Spirit Books)

Best collection
The Stars Seem So Far Away, Margrét Helgadóttir (Fox Spirit Books)

See the whole list of nominees here: congratulations to all for such excellence!

Louhi at @FolkloreThursday

Dream Book

My introduction to Louhi, witch of the north in The Kalevala, appears at @FolkloreThursday today. Folk familiar with my work know that she appears in my stories in Dream Book which were inspired by Finnish mythology in both The Kalevala and The Kanteletar.

Some helpful links: The best translation of The Kalevala; the only English version I know of The Kanteletar; here’s me playing a kantele so you know what the traditional Finnish lap harp sounds like and here’s a fantastic classical piece inspired by Louhi from Tomi Räisänen.

Of course you can get my collection Dream Book thanks to Fox Spirit Books. Stories, poems and a play inspired by the Finnish mythology and music that fills my head. Oh, and ancient rock paintings, too!

Hang around Twitter and see all the fun: @FolkloreThursday is a great opportunity to learn and share.

Find Out What Happened Next!

2015-06-28 14.09.24Okay, there’s my attempt at a crazy click bait headline. Will it work? I don’t know. I can’t say I care these days. I am too busy to bother trying and none of it seems to work, so I will labour away in obscurity and do what makes me happy, or as Dorothy says,

But I shall stay the way I am
Because I do not give a damn.

If you are among the select group who find some interest in my shenanigans here’s what’s up:

SPELK: My story ‘Fur Baby’ is up at Spelk Fiction today. Thanks, Gary, for giving a place to this disturbing little tale of folklore horror and crime. Sign up to get a little tale every day from this great site.

HÁVAMÁL: The latest translations of verses from the Eddic poem are up on my History Witch page at Witches & Pagans. It’s chock full of medieval advice from the viking perspective. I’m slowly making my way through the poem, offering commentary as I go along to put the words into context. When I get to the end, I will doubtless gather them up in a book.

RED TENT: I will be speaking and/or reading at the Red Tent event tomorrow at 2 in Schenectady. Join us and share your favourite books. I will bring a couple of my own along with me.

WRITE 4 A DAY: The next one is on Sunday. I am really looking forward to it — well, I always do, but this month I have so much to write and it has been far too busy around here.

FOX SPIRIT announces their new young readers line: FENNEC. Give them a look!

TEETH: I had a wisdom tooth pulled this week, which I don’t recommend unless it’s unavoidable. Also, despite insurance that and the crowns to come are making me glad that I am getting a refund for taxes. With the elimination of professional development funds at our institution it’s made it even more of a challenge to keep up my professional life. With Leeds this summer and a bunch of very useful exhibits on for my research I will be doing some travel beyond Scotland which will eat away even more funds. There’s also —

SLOVENIA: I’ve been invited to the Alibi Crime Writing conference in Slovenia this autumn and I am delighted. They take care of everything once I get there, but I need to get there. Would it be cheeky to do a fundraiser for my flight? Give me ten bucks and I’ll send you a postcard from Slovenia? Take a picture you get the only copy of? Tchotchkes? I don’t know. Pondering.

Making my escape in about a month: can’t wait and yet there’s so much to do before I jet away again…