For those new here, CASSILDA’S SONG explores the feminine side of Robert Chambers’ (no relation) KING IN YELLOW, and features an all ladies table of contents. My story, “The Neurastheniac” is about Helen Heck, a failed beat/confessional poet/alchemist/junky, and what she uncovers from a series of trespasses through the abandoned suicide chambers (as mentioned in “The Repairer of Reputations”) during the 60s. It gets weird.
It’s a quickie–around ten minutes–and I discuss my influences for the story [Joan Vollmer, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Billie Holiday, Courtney Love (who incidentally plays Vollmer in the 2000 film BEAT)] and my love for mystic junkies like William S. Burroughs.
I haven’t done a speaking gig in a while, and I have forgotten how strange it is to hear one’s own voice. It’s even stranger to hear the topics my voice are discussing. Not to dwell, but I sound shellshocked, and perhaps I am. Surreal? Oh, yes. In the best way.
Michael also sat down with my awesome editor, Joe Pulver, and artist Steve G. Santiago, who did the stunning cover. (I had no idea that image was photo manipulated!) So, yeah, some good behind the scenes stuff, here.
This is a pretty informal announcement, but I have been sitting on this all summer and I must unburden my soul, or else….
I have sold my first short story collection to Pelekinesis press! Entitled CALLS FOR SUBMISSION, it will be born into the world sometime in May of next year. We’re in the beginning stages of production, so there aren’t a lot of details to share at the moment, but…well, okay, here’s a few things:
Molly Tanzer is introducing it,
Jesse Bullington and Virginia M. Molhere will be making guest appearances,
and my story “The Venus of Great Neck,” will appear in English for the first time!
I am humbled by the enthusiasm and encouragement Molly, Jesse, and Virginia have offered me while trying to get all of this together, and I’m so thrilled they will be part of it.
I am also really excited to be working with Pelekinesis, which opened its doors in 2014. For those who haven’t encountered them yet, Pelekinesis “is an independent book publishing company focusing on the development of literary-minded authors and artists by embracing the evolving publishing paradigm and creatively supporting the skills of these talented individuals.” I’ve really been enjoying their titles which range from the erotic illustrations of Edward R. Beardsley in MR. ABOBAZIZ & THE NANCY, to the first children’s book fairy tale to feature a transgender princess in Greg McGoon’s THE ROYAL HEART. I have especially enjoyed Joelle Renstrom’s CLOSING THE BOOK: TRAVELS IN LIFE, LOSS, AND LITERATURE, Marc Zegans’ THE UNDERWATER TYPEWRITER, and Ian Pyper’s CODEX OCULARIS. You can pursue more titles in their catalog here.
And, of course, stay tuned here for more details about CALLS FOR SUBMISSION!
Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN has been out in the world for a few months, and I’m happy to report that, not only is it alive, but doing well! I have been getting thrills from seeing Book Selfies on Facebook (scrapbooked below), and getting cool shout-out on various Frankenstein related content like Orrin Grey‘s piece on the “9 Best Frankenstein Movies” for The Lineup.com. I was especially honored to be interviewed by Nate Pedersen over at the Fine Books and Collectibles blog. If you want some “behind the music”* access to this project, you’ll certainly find it here.
It’s also garnered some 5-star reviews at Amazon and on GoodReads:
Ross Lockhart wrote on both venues:
“A stunning presentation of Selena Chambers’ epistolary travelogue exploring the locales of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this Tallhat Press chapbook includes breathtaking illustrations by Yves Tourigny, an afterword providing larger context and history of the travelogue, and extensive notes. Fans of Frankenstein would do themselves a favor to pick this up before it goes out of print in early 2017.”
Jake Marley wrote on Amazon:
“I am dearly hoping that Wandering Spirits will tutn out to be the first in a series of literary travel books. Selena Chambers brings us along for an unforgettable journey through the world of Frankenstein, offering up charming insight into the past, and into her subject.
The book felt like a really great escape, and with the beautiful artwork by Yves Tourigny it all came together is a perfect package.”
And over at Goodreads, Adam Gorman said that it was:
“A short but enjoyable investigation in epistolary form. I highly recommend this chapbook for anybody who works with or enjoyed Shelley’s Frankenstein.”
Reviews and social buzz are critical to writers and indie projects like this, so an infinite amount of thanks to the gentlemen above who took the time to review Wandering Spirits, and also to my friends and colleagues who have bought the book, posted awesome pics of it online, and helped me share the news, and spread the word! If you, dear reader, would like to help with further word-spreading, I am available for interviews or guest posts about this, or anything else, really. Just shoot me an email at: LeFilleHST@gmail.com.
As you may recall, Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN is a bicentennial, special-limited edition designed and annotated by Yves Tourigny and Tallhat Press. Only 200 copies will be made, and only then available for 9 months (as of last June). So, current stats are: 152 copies are left, with 7 more months to go. If you would like to purchase a copy, you can do so at the below links:
I have been writing professionally for about twelve years now. You name the type of writing, and I’ve probably done it. Journalism? Yes. Fashion copywriting? Oh, yeah. Travel writing? Check. Editing? Check. Eulogy writing? Oddly, yes. Prize-winning fiction? Eh…well, some of my fiction has been nominated for things…”Of Parallel and Parcel” was nominated for a Pushcart, and just a few weeks ago my latest story, “The Neurastheniac” was named a World Fantasy Award finalist.
My non-fiction has garnered some laurels as well. My travelogue Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was nominated for a Best of the Net award by the editors of the Non-Binary Review, where the series appeared, for the first time as a whole, in their Frankenstein issue. You can download that issue for free here. My first book, The Steampunk Bible, was co-written with Jeff Vandermeer and was nominated for a Hugo and World Fantasy award, and won the Steampunk Chronicle’s 2012 Reader’s Choice Award.
Now, you may be scratching your head and asking: “I thought some guy named S. J. Chambers was attached to that.” It’s true, but that guy was me. Up until Spring 2015, I was publishing as S. J. Chambers, but decided to drop my initials for reasons I wrote about here.
While I love exploring other forms of writing, fiction has been and always will be my true passion. I prefer to write about the “asterisks” of history, as Mina Loy wrote in her “Library of the Sphinx” essay. I am very interested in the women that have been resigned to be footnotes in history, and I have slowly been working on a mythos of sorts that involves a secret society of these forgotten maidens, The Bas Bleu. They appear in some shape or form in several of my stories, including “The Neurastheniac,” and occupy most of my current fictional endeavors. Other stories they appear in include “Remnants of Lost Empires” (TheStarry Wisdom Library) and “The Veils of Sanctuary” (Sisterhood, forthcoming).
Most of my stories appear in anthologies, but there are a few stories out on the internet available for free:
“The Last Session: or, the facts in the case of Clarissa Collyer“ is a limited edition chapbook from Dunhams Manor Press. The copy reads: “Clarissa Collyer is having problems growing up. Among the usual teenage problems of identity and independence, she also has to care for her mother, whose soul is stuck in her cancer-ridden body. A modern riffing on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” this weird bildungsroman tale from Selena Chambers frays the threads between cutting the mortal coil and the umbilical cord.”
Mechanical Animals is a crossed-genre anthology looking at the history, trend, and relevance of biomimicry. I am co-editing it with the awesome, Hugo-award winning Jason Heller, and it will be published through Hex Publishing.
Other than all that, I am a Lit-Nerd, Francophile, Bibliophile, and dromomaniac. In addition to writing, I love listening to music, analyzing art, dancing the charleston and shimmy, mixing cocktails (possibly related to the first thing), playing my telecaster, playing Fallout, sauntering in the woods, swimming in the ocean, cloud gazing, and traveling to various literary shrines to pay pilgrimage to my betters. When I’m not doing any of that, I’m hanging out with my Boy and my cat.
Phew. Well, that’ll do it for starters. If you’d like to introduce yourself in the comments, please say hi, and if you’d rather lurk around, I invite you to sign up for this page for updates and news of those vaguebook things I alluded to earlier. You can also keep up with me at Facebook or at Twitter: @basbleuzombie.
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope some of this was informative and you’ll come back soon!
I’ve blinked a thousand times and the words haven’t changed, so…guess what? I’m a World Fantasy Award Finalist for my short story “The Neurastheniac,” which appears in Joseph S. Pulver, Sr’s CASSILDA’S SONG (Chaosium), also a WFA finalist for best anthology.
CASSILDA’S SONG explores the feminine side of Robert Chambers’ (no relation) KING IN YELLOW, and features an all ladies table of contents. My story, “The Neurastheniac” is about Helen Heck, a failed beat/confessional poet/alchemist/junky, and what she uncovers from a series of trespasses through the abandoned suicide chambers (as mentioned in “The Repairer of Reputations”) during the 60s. It gets weird.
All of the stories in here are beautiful, visceral, and each one unforgettable–just check out this TOC if you don’t believe me:
“Black Stars on Canvas, a Reproduction in Acrylic” by Damien Angelica Walters
“She Will Be Raised a Queen” by E. Catherine Tobler
“Yella” by Nicole Cushing
“Yellow Bird” by Lynda E. Rucker
“Exposure” by Helen Marshall
“Just Beyond Her Dreaming” by Mercedes M. Yardley
“In the Quad of Project 327” by Chesya Burke
“Stones, Maybe” by Ursula Pflug
“Les Fleurs Du Mal” by Allyson Bird
“While The Black Stars Burn” by Lucy A. Snyder
“Old Tsah-Hov” by Anya Martin
“The Neurastheniac” by Selena Chambers
“Dancing The Mask” by Ann K. Schwader
“Family” by Maura McHugh
“Pro Patria!” by Nadia Bulkin
“Her Beginning is Her End is Her Beginning” by E. Catherine Tobler & Damien Angelica Walters
“Grave-Worms” by Molly Tanzer
“Strange is the Night” by S.P. Miskowski
If you haven’t gotten your hands on this collection, yet, why not do so now? You can order on Amazon or directly from Chaosium’s site.
For a writer, I feel language evading me to describe the emotional similacrum of awe, wonder, gratitude, humility, and encouragement I have been feeling. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and while I acknowledge this energy is ephemeral, I am harnessing it to fuel the next story, and the next after that.
Many thanks to the Judges for nominating this story. (!!!)
Last Thursday, my good friend, vintage movie expert, bomb writer, and teratologist Orrin Grey inducted me into the wiles of the Hammer Frankenstein films. I’ve never seen them, and so what a better way to celebrate #Frankenstein200 than live-tweeting the experience. It was loads of fun, and we storified the experience here.
In addition to celebrating the Villa Diodati bicentennial, we were also marking a few other related events:
The release of Orrin’s first non-fiction collection, MONSTERS FROM THE VAULT, which collects over five years worth of his regular vintage horror flick column, VAULT OF SECRETS, that runs over at INNSMOUTH FREE PRESS. And speaking of, his latest column there delves into more territory with a look at IT! (1967). Check it out here.
Word Horde did a cover reveal of its Frankenstein tribute anthology, ETERNAL FRANKENSTEIN, out in October, and boy, it is a beauty!
And, of course, my own little chapbook from Tallhat Press, WANDERING SPIRITS, which has been doing really well since its release last week. In the past few days, it premiered as #1 New Release in its category, even hit #5 at one point, has been spotted in the wild via book pics, become the focus of a really fun giveaway at the Frankenstein200 Facebook page, and has garnered five stars in its first review! I am really excited about the response it has been getting, and I know it wouldn’t have been done without the help of friends and colleagues who have helped spread the information, and to the readers who shelled out to buy this book. To each and every one of you: Thank you!
Although Frankenstein was published in 1818, fans are getting a head start on celebrating the novel’s bicentennial starting this week. On June 16-18, 1816, in Geneva, Switzerland, three days of terrible thunder storms caused a crew of young poets and libertines–Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Dr. John Polidori, Claire Claremont, and Mary Shelley–to seek shelter in the Villa Diodati. To while away the time, they drank and read each other ghost stories. Eventually, Lord Byron challenged his friends to write their own fantastic tales, and it was through this writing prompt that Frankenstein was conceived. (This is of course, the bare bones version.)
I have, since a pre-teen, been in love with this anecdote, as well as the young girl it concerned, Mary Shelley. This infactuation with her and her circle stuck with me through adulthood, and at 28, compelled me to visit her old haunts as well as those found within her most famous novel. I wrote about these travels in a web series called “Wandering Spirits” on WeirdFictionReview.com, and they were collected as a whole and published alongside the Frankenstein source text for Non-Binary Review’s Issue 2: Frankenstein, to which the travelogue was nominated by editors Lise Quintana and Allie Marini for Best of the Net.
Wandering Spirits has been one of the more intense and gratifying things I’ve done as a writer and a traveler, and doing so gave me a greater appreciation, love, and respect for Mary Shelley and her work. I am thrilled that the work is being reanimated by Tallhat Press, who has collected, annotated, and illustrated this series into a new special limited edition chapbook in honor of the Villa Diodati bicentennial.
Only 200 copies are available, and will only be on sale for the next nine months (to commemorate how long it took Mary to draft Frankenstein).
If you would like to help me celebrate, you can buy the chapbook at Amazon, or you can just share the below press release on whatever social media platform you feel most comfortable doing. Either way, I am grateful for your interest in my work as well as Shelley’s.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–Tallhat Press Presents: Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN by Selena Chambers
“…although Mary and these poets experienced a lifetime before they were thirty, here I was at 28, having never left my homeland. I needed to flee—go forth and find sublimity. What better guide than Frankenstein.”
—From Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Six years ago, Selena Chambers turned her first major trip abroad into a literary scavenger hunt of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Visiting Geneva, Switzerland, Ingolstadt, Germany, and Chamonix, France over a series of several days, she found within the nooks and crannies of these modern European towns the residual Romanticism that inspired the teenage Mary Shelley and shaped her most famous novel.
This annotated, illustrated, and special limited bicentennial edition chapbook collects this Best of the Net nominated travelogue to commemorate Frankenstein’s conception during the week of June 16, 1816. Written in the epistolary vein as Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, these letters portray Chambers’ visits to three of the most important sites within Frankenstein and takes us all on a journey through the sublime.
It is available for purchase on Amazon at the following links:
Selena Chambers’ fiction and non-fiction have appeared in a variety of venues including MungBeing magazine, Clarkesworld, The Non-Binary Review, Tor.com, Bookslut, Cassilda’s Song (Chaosium, 2015), and The Last Session (Dunhams Manor Press, 2016). Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart, Best of the Net, and the Hugo and World Fantasy award. You can reach her at www.selenachambers.com.
About the publisher:
Tallhat Press is a small press interested in publishing evocative and energizing Genre-based non-fiction in well-designed print editions. For more information, please visit: http://www.tallhatpress.com
For publicity or review inquiries, please contact the author at:
Welp, so it’s May, huh? I haven’t posted much here, other than maybe to don a mustache for a bit of fun tribute. So, that can mean one thing, and one thing only: MASSIVE UPDATES!
Ah, but updates on what? For the most part, existence at the Bas Bleu Zombie headquarters has been like this:
Despite 2016 trying to be more of a royal fucker than 2015, or 2013, I have been writing like a fiend. A lot of it has been freelance stuff to supplement my Lush Bath Bomb habit, most of it has been for STEAMPUNK PARIS, and the rest of it is miscellany slowly trickling into the world.