If you’ve been on the fence about buying this, now’s your last chance.
I can’t believe it’s been 9 months since Yves Tourigny swooped in and made my idle wish a beautifully illustrated reality. Many thanks to him, and to the readers who bought, reviewed, and advocated for this adventure.
FRANKENSTEIN turns 200 offiicially next year, so there is much more bicentennial celebrations to be enjoyed. Please tune in to the Facebook page, Frankenstein200, for more things Frankenshelly.
Out of something like 63 submissions, I selected 32 stories, poems, essays, and artwork to appear in this issue, as well as its online sister companion, Alphanumeric. I was only able to do this with the patient gut-checking and assistance of Zoetic Press‘s founder and editrix-in-chief Lise Quintana, and all of her awesome editors. I can’t thank them enough for letting me join their sandbox!
I really enjoyed editing this issue, and I hope you will enjoy reading it! From the dark, decadent gothic to sharp, modern retellings, I wanted to make sure the issue had something for every kind of Poe fan here. One aspect of this issue that may be surprising to all Poe fans is the presence of lighter tones and humor in some of the pieces. Poe was actually a funny guy and that aspect of his personality is often excised when we discuss his work, so I was very happy to receive submissions celebrating that. One fantastic example is “The Ravening,” by Meadhbh Hamrick, which launches this month’s Alphanumeric*
“The Ravening” is a hilarious text-based adventure game based on the archetypal Poe hero that no only sheds light on popular culture’s perception of Poe’s work but also illustrates its timelessness. Can you survive the massive doses of laudanum required to survive? Click here to find out.
Oh, and Poepathists may recognize my introduction, “The Living Poe Girl.”It is a radically revised edition of a series that ran at Tor.com in 2009, and touches on the heroines that appear in this issue, Ligeia, Berenice, The Oval Portrait, and of course, Virginia Poe.
*Alphanumeric is the fun, free, month-long online companion to each issue of NonBinary Review. This is a great way for readers to get a feel for the issue’s vibe, so if you are on the fence about buying the issue, check in every week to get a sample of the issue.
I have worked with Poe’s material closely now for about ten years, so it has been a real pleasure seeing what others bring to the pendulum table. However, I want more!
Submissions close 2/1 (a week from today), and I am especially interested in seeing non-fiction and pieces riffing off of more obscure works (I’d prefer to read “The Raven” riffs, nevermore). I also would like to see more POC, LGBTQ, and women writers and perspectives represented.
Longest fiction written to date. A whole novelette! Hot dang, I will conquer you yet, novel. This is a riff on Poe’s “Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” but through the exploration of a mother-daughter relationship estranged by adolescence and cancer, and of course Emo. I got some nice reviews and comments on this one, and I dare say the creep/cry factor is dialed to 11. Many thanks to editor Jordan Krall on letting me give this one the chance to breathe.
This anti-Orientalism Steampunk tale set in Turkey originally appeared in Sarah Hans’ STEAMPUNK WORLD (Alliteration Ink). I was stoked to give the Şehrazat another avenue and be a part of Hex Publishers’ weekly magazine WORDS. There is a lot of great FREE stuff over there–stories by Nisi Shawl, Jason Heller, E. Lily Yu, and Alvaros Zinos-Amaro–so if you haven’t checked them out, you are missing out. Thank you for the opportunity, Josh Viola!
“Arrangement in Juniper and Champagne.” MIXED UP: COCKTAIL RECIPES (AND FLASH FICTION) FOR THE DISCERNING DRINKER (AND READER), edited by Nick Mamatas and Molly Tanzer. Skyhorse, October 2017.
I am proud of this story for several reasons.
First, to be in anything edited by Nick and/or Molly has been on my goals list for a while, and many thanks to them for liking and accepting the story!
Second, all I really ever want to do is write fiction about cocktails, in this case the French 75.
Third, I’d been reading a lot of and about Hemingway this year, and had been toying with the Iceberg idea–something like “Hills Like White Elephants,” but from only women’s perspectives. Pair this with the constant ostracizing of women who don’t want to have children ever (by women), or define their being by their sexual prowess, or dream of fairy tale love to be complete–you got “Arrangement in Juniper and Champagne.”
Fourth, I had no idea what was coming in November, so I feel this was sort of a preamble for whatever changes to my writing that may bring. Read More
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’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!