NYC with the QoE

Spring break has mostly been work but I did manage to make another escape to spend the day with the fabulous Stephanie down in the city. Just before another collaboration escapes on Monday, Respectable Horror, which I edited and she supplied the wonderful cover art featuring cover model Poppy. She’s not just skin and bones either!

More photos in a FB album — they’d take up too much of my storage space here — but here’s a few highlights which included stops at the NYPL, Society of Illustrators and the Met as well as fine Belgian and Thai food. Click to embiggen any of the images.

NYC, Munch, Folk Art & QoE

Being far too lazy to choose between photos, I have posted the majority of them to a Facebook album which is publicly visible. But I had a fabulous day out with the Queen of Everything. As I got there a bit earlier than she did I popped over to the Morgan to see Warhol by the Book and have since been filled with ideas about artist books. And saw this fine sculpture at the Polish Embassy around the corner (click to embiggen).

2016-03-10 11.40.56.jpg

Then I met the fab Stephanie at Grand Central and we headed north to the Neue Galerie to see the Munch & Expressionism exhibit. We panicked a bit when we saw there was a line but it wasn’t that bad, mostly security (for valid reasons). When I saw all the woodcuts, I realised why Stephanie had been so excited to see this show. Great stuff, lots of Schiele — not a single female artist, alas. And as an elderly viewer noted, ‘Not a happy face to be seen’ anywhere. There’s also the room of Klimts and wow, having mostly seen the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer reprinted I was astonished at its beauty. So much texture.

We had a late lunch at the New Amity Restaurant because ‘as you know, Amity means friendship’ and it lived up to its name and was quite wonderful.

Then because the afternoon was slipping away all too fast we took a cab around the park to the Folk Art Museum (and got a Muslim woman driver which pleased us) for the Mystery and Benevolence exhibit featuring folk art from the Odd Fellows and Masons.

ram staffWow, just wow. I didn’t expect it to be quite so interesting. Maybe because I’m a sucker for secret societies. Maybe it was the more folksy touch to the art, rather than the very grand versions that you can see in the London museum. If you go to the album, you’ll see most of the pictures I took were there. Fascinating! A newish museum and a really friendly staff there — if you go be sure to check out the shop. Lots of tempting things there.

Despite the predicted rain there was never more than a sprinkle or two. We enjoyed a wander through the park and then had a round of drinks because we were two dames in the city and why not? Then it was time to hop our trains back. Busy day, but fun and great company.

In New York City

I can’t vouch for the lord‘s whereabouts but this afternoon I head down to the city for the Occult Humanities conference at NYU, which includes a visit to the lovely Katja so that’s a definite plus. I’m sure I will have stories and photos to share upon my return, though be warned that things continue just as hectic hereabouts while I constantly change hats as I move from project to project.

I never managed to make it down to the city last semester other than heading to the airport. Making plans to get back down again soon, maybe with the lovely QoE Stephanie Johnson to see the cards exhibit at the Cloisters and a few other things (there are always things to see).



Call for Stories: Drag Noir

[A repost from Fox Spirit Books]

Photo via Dangerous Minds (click to see original article)
Photo via Dangerous Minds (click to see original article)

“We’re born naked, and the rest is drag.”
RuPaul, Lettin it All Hang Out: An Autobiography

Drag is a broad concept; noir is a fairly narrow one. Drag can be a way of playing with gender or it can be a matter of survival. In the noir world, it can be almost anything: camouflage, deceit, truth — or a skin to be shed at will.

Otto Penzler has always been really strict in his idea of noir:

Look, noir is about losers. The characters in these existential, nihilistic tales are doomed. They may not die, but they probably should, as the life that awaits them is certain to be so ugly, so lost and lonely, that they’d be better off just curling up and getting it over with. And, let’s face it, they deserve it.

Pretty much everyone in a noir story (or film) is driven by greed, lust, jealousy or alienation, a path that inevitably sucks them into a downward spiral from which they cannot escape. They couldn’t find the exit from their personal highway to hell if flashing neon lights pointed to a town named Hope. It is their own lack of morality that blindly drives them to ruin.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says, but I think noir ends up being a fairly bleak place — one where any bit of glamour or adopted power can be worth the gamble of discovery. It may even be worth flaunting it.

Can you tell who’s Dressed to Kill?

As RuPaul advises, “When the going gets tough, the tough reinvent.”

That’s what we want for DRAG NOIR: this is a call for stories where glamour meets grit, where everyone’s wearing a disguise (whether they know it or not) and knowing the players takes a lot more than simply reading the score cards. Maybe everyone’s got something to hide, but they’ve got something to reveal, too. Scratch the surface and explore what secrets lie beneath — it’s bound to cost someone…a lot.

Mercedes McCambridge in ‘A Taste of Evil’

An anthology is not a democracy; it’s a benevolent dictatorship. All editors have their tastes or quirks: if you want a clue to my sensibilities, check out my extensive bibliography and of course, read Weird Noir and Noir Carnival.

Stories should be:

  • Previously unpublished anywhere
  • Not submitted anywhere else
  • Length 3-8K
  • Formatted: Times New Roman, regular, 12 point; 1″ margins; 1 space after full stop; lines spaced 1.5; use paragraph formatting to indent first line not tabs; no header/footer
  • Identified with a title, your name (and pen name identified as such), working email address on the first page: file name should include your surname & the title
  • Submitted in RTF format via email to katelaity at gmail with your name, the story title and total word count included in the body of the email; make sure the Subject line includes “Submission: Drag Noir” + your name
  • Due by March 20, 2014.

We will ask for world-wide print & ebook rights for a year and pay £10 via Paypal plus a copy of the paperback. The fabulous Stephanie Johnson has been persuaded to create another fabulous cover image! We plan to launch the book in July 2014.

Butler Gender

Cover Reveal: Noir Carnival


Here’s the fantastic cover for the upcoming Fox Spirit Books anthology Noir Carnival: no surprise, Stephanie came through with the awesome yet again. Wow! And you thought Weird Noir was going to be a tough act to follow. If that cover doesn’t give you nightmares, you might need to fill your bed with spiders. I’ve made the final choices of the stories — and was it tough! I had no idea what the book would look like before I started reading them, but slowly the shape emerged. Some good stories I had to turn down because they just didn’t quite fit. Another reason to remember that rejection may not be the end of the line.


Table of Contents

Introduction: Caravan ~ K. A. Laity

Family Blessings ~ Jan Kozlowski

In the Mouth of the Beast ~ Li Huijia

Idle Hands ~ Hannah Kate

The Things We Leave Behind ~ Christopher L. Irvin

She’s My Witch ~ Paul D. Brazill

The Mermaid Illusion ~ Carol Borden

Natural Flavouring ~ Rebecca Snow

Madam Mafoutee’s Bad Glass Eye ~ Chloë Yates

Buffalo Brendan and the Big Top Ballot ~ Allan Watson

Carne Levare ~ Emma Teichmann

Leave No Trace ~ A. J. Sikes

Fair ~ Robin Wyatt Dunn

Things Happen Here After Dark ~ Sheri White

Mister Know-It-All ~ Richard Godwin

Trapped ~ Joan De La Haye

The Price of Admission ~ Neal Litherland

Take Your Chances ~ Michael S. Chong

Young Mooncalf ~ Katie Young

The Teeth Behind the Beard ~ James Bennett

Prints & Punk Rock

Another zippy trip down to Connecticut to see my pals. Great to see Marko, Bilokur and of course the Queen of Everything, Stephanie Johnson. After all these year, I finally caught up with Peter Crowley, too! Can’t believe we’ve never actually been in the same place at the same time. Had a faboo time, Agent Cooper seemed to take the trip with ease — hurrah! Madly busy this ‘holiday’ week, so here’s a slide show of some of the fun, including the Punk Rock Jukebox, the city rooster, the print show and more. I came back with art and a smile!

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Win a WEIRD NOIR mug!

Alas, only the mug! Other items available for purchase, though.


So you’ve read the fabulous collection WEIRD NOIR, but that’s not enough. You need to make it part of your daily life! How about a winning mug with the fabulous SL Johnson‘s cover design as seen in this photo?

Enter to win the very first (& maybe only) RIDE THE WILD HAGGIS contest. We honour Robbie Burns this Friday and that’s the deadline to enter.

Prize: one official WEIRD NOIR mug
Deadline: 25 January 23.59 GMT

Entry: post on the Fox Spirit Facebook page’s photo as a comment your (100 words limit) pitch for a weird noir tale featuring either Robbie Burns or a haggis that embodies both the weird and the noir.

Winner will be chosen by the Fox Spirit staff in their own inimitable way and announced on January 26th. One entry per person.


News: My gritty (but funny!) crime story ‘Grotesque’ is  up over at Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers. Drop by and give it a read and leave a comment if you have one. Thanks to Col and David and the rest of the bunch for hosting me. It was a fun story.